Three billion people globally can’t afford to eat a healthy diet. Of these people, 690 million are hungry on a day-to-day basis.
What images did those statistics evoke for you? Did you immediately think of those horrifying pictures of starving people in Africa we see in Unicef adverts?
The truth is that hunger may well hit closer to home. Food security is a growing issue, even in first-world nations. In countries like Canada, fast food is cheaper than fresh, healthy produce. It’s also relatively filling and convenient for parents who might have to work two or three jobs.
The surreal part is that every year billions of dollar’s worth of food go to waste in Canada and other developed countries. Whether as a result of spoilage, aesthetics, or the manufacturing process, food wastage is a significant issue.
How big of an issue?
See for yourself in the infographic below.
Before you scroll to the statistics, however, let’s discuss a little more about the environmental impact of spoilage.
The impact goes beyond the humanitarian crisis as well. What few people realize is that the food being thrown away also contributes to higher CO2 emission levels as it decomposes. The packaging used for the food is also problematic environmentally.
Is there any hope for the future?
It’s not, however, all doom and gloom. With growing awareness of these issues, governments globally are working on ways to incentivize zero-waste projects. There are several programs afoot that aim to increase food security and decrease the environmental impact of rotten food.
At the ground level, consumers are also becoming more aware of the benefits of zero-waste projects. Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increasing drive by society to improve their environmental impact.
This has led to developments such as:
- The switch to biodegradable packaging
- Organic farming methods
- The move to more sustainable manufacturing processes in the food industry
- Community bartering systems to exchange excess produce
- The consumption of every edible part of an animal or plant
In short, there’s hope for the future. The co-operation between consumers, governments, and businesses can turn this situation around.